A consumer court in Thane has asked the Konkan Railway Corporation to pay Rs one lakh to a passenger for his mental suffering following theft of his belongings while travelling in a train in 2012. Unnikrishnan Nair, a resident of Mira Road, informed Thane Additional District Consumer Redressal Forum, Belapur, that while he was travelling along with his wife and son in Netravati Express from Tirussur to Thane on December 23, 2012, a thief allegedly snatched purse from his wife as the train was approaching Karwar railway station. He claimed the purse had jewellery and other valuables worth about Rs 4.72 lakh.
Nair had to run from pillar-to-post with his complaint as various police stations cited jurisdiction issues. Later, an FIR was finally registered at Karwar rural police station on March 14, 2013, but the investigation yielded no result and the probe in the case is still on. The complainant claimed Rs 4.72 lakh, besides Rs 5 lakh towards mental agony and Rs 50,000 litigation charges.
He informed the forum that neither police personnel nor TTE were present in the coach that night. The railways contested the claim, saying the passenger was responsible for taking care of her lugguage and that the claim is false and the incident never occurred. Consumer forum president A Z Telgote and member T A Thool observed that as per the documents produced by Nair, it is clear that he had rushed to the police without delay after the alleged incident and lodged the complaint.
While there was confusion among various railway police officers regarding the territorial jurisdiction, it cannot be said that the complainant has concocted a story. Relevant documents have been provided by Nair in terms of theft which is valued of Rs 4.72 lakh, the forum observed, but set aside the claim as the matter is under investigation.
The forum observed that no proof of concerned TTE or any railway police personnel, who were on duty, has been presented and in the absence of such evidence, it is impossible to rely on uncorroborated version of railways. As Nair had to run from one police station to another to lodge his complaint, it clearly shows that because of non-availability of railway officials that night, he was required to rush to various authorities.
“It is deficiency in service on part of railway administration that the incident occurred and the complainant had to lose his valuables and had to suffer mental agony. Had railway administration provided adequate security in the compartments of the train on that night, perhaps the incident in question could have been avoided,” the forum noted.
Therefore, the forum recently ordered the Konkan Railway Corporation to pay Rs one lakh to Nair for mental agony and additional Rs 10,000 for legal expenses.